When should or shouldn't I use a horn?

Car Horns and Defensive Driving

The use of car horns is governed by commonsense rather than actual legislation. With driver safety in mind, you'll find many DMV driver manuals recommend using a car horn in the following situations:

  • To alert a bicyclist who appears ready to stray into your lane.
  • To alert a pedestrian who looks ready to walk or run into the street.
  • When the car you're passing begins to drift into your lane. 
  • To establish eye contact with other drivers.
  • On narrow mountain roads with limited visibility due to curves or hills. 
  • When emerging from narrow alleys.
  • To avoid an accident. 
  • To alert the other vehicle's around you after you've lost control of your car.

Depending of the severity of the situation, choose between either a light tap or an all-out horn blast. 

Conversely, horn use is not recommended for the following situations:

  • If the driver in front of you is driving too slow for your liking.
  • To express anger towards another driver.
  • When passing bicyclists.
  • When approaching horses.
  • In the presence of blind pedestrians.
  • To greet friends.

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